Nichijou is over.
Before you read this post, I would like to apologize for it’s lack of organisation and coherence. I watched Nichijou in chunks over a long period of time, and as such, I missed the community discussions of certain episodes, and given that I started watching this when it first started and I haven’t gone back to those episodes, my memory of earlier events is also not optimal. Sorry!
Also, given the length of this post, it is bound to have spelling and grammar errors, I apologise, even more so because I am too tired to proofread it.
But, if you don’t care about anything I have to say, and are only curious as to what I thought of the anime, well, know that I really liked it, it had some lows, but overall it was great!
Me and Nichijou have an interesting relationship. I started watching this show along with the rest of the anime blogging community for a few episodes, and then I just stopped, mostly because of school, but partly because those episodes weren’t the most exciting either (I think I was close to episode 10 at the time). Then when Nichijou was around episode 20, everyone was raving about how cool it was, so I went ahead and downloaded the newest 10 (eventually 11) episodes and let them sit there for a while. I watched them in chunks, and only got around to watch episode 21 today. Yesterday, I downloaded episodes 21-25 and while I was racing through them, I also downloaded 26. So, I basically watched the last six episodes of Nichijou today, several days after it finished.
Why did I tell you all of that? No, reason, I am just too lazy to keep a diary and I wanted a record of my Nichijou adventure. So, now on to the anime itself!
First, I’d like to point out that some segments of Nichijou aren’t that funny. Sorry, guys, it’s unfortunately true. Back during the first part of the anime, I disliked pretty much any scene that involved the Professor and Nano, those scenes, were just not that funny. Some of the classroom scenes were pretty funny, but I think others weren’t as funny, my memory has unfortunately, gone a bit fuzzy. The short gags if I remember correctly were really quite funny, especially the skip rope gags.
The second half of the season took a turn, and the short gags for the most part lost their sense of humor, BUT, scenes involving the Professor and Nano greatly improved, and the classroom, oh boy. The classroom interactions between the students especially Yuko, Mai, and Mio were absolutely hilarious!
Elaborating on what I said earlier, I found the gags in the second half to be pretty boring, it might have been because of language issues, but still the word of the day gags didn’t do much, neither did the Professor/Nano rock-paper-scissors game and Helvetica standard wasn’t that great either, it had its moments, but they weren’t very consistent. I also somewhat disliked the random scenes of a tree doing nothing, or something else just standing there. Sure, it added to the randomness, but I wanted to see more of the cast! Having said that, it did give us breaks and these breaks might have helped us enjoy the show more (see the link I posted of ajthefourth’s Nichijou post).
Getting back to the cast, the first couple of episodes didn’t really do the best job in exploiting the awesomeness of the characters. Mio was just a serious, ordinary person with no special qualities other than a trace of perfection and Mai was the perfect being who did almost nothing. The comedy during these earlier episodes was carried out almost entirely by Yuko’s bad jokes, and there is only so much you can laugh at bad jokes.
BUT! Things got better, namely when Mio dropped her perfect aura and started doing some funny things of her own. I think this first started around when Mio started drawing stuff.
After that, as Mio opened up, the jokes got better, the interactions got better, and along with the fantastic humor, the viewers were treated to a vast, rich pallet of exquisite facial expressions.
The humor was probably there since the beginning, but it all felt tacked on until the characters were developed a little, Yuko might be a pretty funny girl, but she can’t run the whole show, luckily in the second half, the focus shifted away from random puns and jabs and more towards a cast of quirky characters who not only did some strange things but were also thrown into a bunch of ordinary scenarios, scenarios that were not played out ordinarily. Some of the funniest parts of Nichijou happened when it took the ordinary and over exaggerated it until it became hilarious, but at the same time, it took the extra ordinary and underplayed it, leaving us, the viewers with a big WTF plastered on our faces.
So, uhh, I don’t know what else I can say, other than the fact that when it was funny, Nichijou was really, really funny, and that as far as I can recall, there isn’t a single bad character in this anime, all of the characters contributed to the humor in some way or another. Even, the folk who only occasionally appeared, like the kendo master, the principal/vice-principal, the old man with his grandson, and the rest of occasional crew provided great humor and many laughs.
So, now I am just going to talk about stuff I liked, I probably liked more than just this, but writing all the stuff I liked about this show would be an arduous task requiring re-watching, note taking and much, too much, writing. Note: I ended up writing too much anyway, and still didn’t cover everything.
The presentation of an ordinary thing followed by a reversal and variations of this.
Nichijou lived on these kinds of jokes.
Do you want an example?
The above scene was one of the funnest things I have ever seen, in case you forgot, here’s the clip and fyi, it happened in episode 19. Note: I didn’t upload the video.
Notice how the scene starts of relatively ordinary (though, I do not know of many high schools that teach kids how to pole vault), but it gets presented in a funny manner, i.e. Mio’s determination and running style, and then finally there is a reversal, our expectations of what should have happened are reversed, but not only are the expectations reversed, as the cherry on top, we see the initial goal of Mio’s efforts accomplished, but clearly not in the way she desired.
Want another example?
Go re-watch that bit from episode 15. Now, that scene starts of with an ordinary scenario (Nakanojou fainting, though, I guess that isn’t very ordinary), and then right away there is a reversal when the Sensei says he hasn’t fainted. The girl says something and he replies with another reversal, now, you might expect the girl to retort, but instead she agrees to his insane request, so effectively speaking, we are treated to two reversals in a row, which is hilarious!
Too many characters to cover, so forgive me for not talking about everyone.
For good or for bad, this anime depends on Yuko, a lot. Earlier on, it was Yuko’s bad jokes, and later on, it was the reactions she got from Mio,Mai and Nano that kept this anime afloat.
If I was to use an analogy, then if Nichijou is a platter with a wide assortment of unsorted food all lying about in a giant jumble, then Yuko is the thin layer of lard that keeps the food relatively close together.
Mio is fun. You could probably do a bit of a character study and talk about how Mio used to have a nice persona that she put on for everyone, but then thanks to Yuko’s encouragement and Mio’s acceptance of her manga artist talents, Mio slowly opened up and revealed more of herself.
You could argue that out of all the characters in Nichijou, Mio got the most development, more than Yuko, and more than anyone else, especially because of the love loss in episode 25, some might even argue that Mio is the only character that got any development.
BUT, as fun as it is to talk about that, the truth is, we only like Mio because she is adorable. I found it really cute how Mio’s hard outer, normal layer was slowly stripped apart to reveal her juicy, occasionally childish, sometimes stubborn, and all around fun inner layer. A bit like an onion that makes you cry through comedy.
Mai-Chan is a beast, nothing can faze her, nothing can scare her, and she always follows the Mai-way, what ever that is. Mai-Chan is the stereotypical perfect character– like Akira from School Rumble–who can do anything and everything, and subsequently, does what ever the hell she wants. Now, the one special thing about Mai though, is that the stuff she does is really, really bizarre.
If you watched this anime, then this surely requires no explanation. I mean who on earth doesn’t like a narcissistic, peculiar, goat riding, Bocchan (Credit where credit is due)? Sasahara is awesome, and some might forget about him, but I doubt anyone dislikes him (If you dislike him, please do leave a comment, I do not wish for you to feel alienated. /Shameless appeal for comments).
This guy was classic, he did nothing much himself, but the torture inflicted on him was oh so delicious.
Fantasies are a very commonly used comedic element in anime, and to an extent, other media as well. I suppose, they are funny because more often than not, they represent idealistic scenarios that could never happen, or in some cases, totally bizarre scenarios like the above. And yet, what is just as funny are the characters reactions to their own fantasies, Mio did not have any regrets over her fantasy, though Takamura sensei did in fact show some regret over his fantasy, regret which quickly turned to disappointment with his own definition of sloppy and a follow up fantasy.
Fantasies were not that common in Nichijou, but they were funny.
The facial expressions
As I said earlier, there were plenty of awesome facial expressions in this anime. The facial expressions were really, really important. Not that facial expressions aren’t normally dismiss-able or anything, just that in Nichijou, a lot of the humor comes from the exaggerated reactions.
With modern, advanced super animation techniques at their disposal, more and more anime are incorporating facial expressions, but sometimes it’s overkill, sometimes there aren’t enough, so, I bet the anime people think long and hard about that kind of thing.
But, the Nichijou creators, high on unicorn blood and goat spit, decided that no number of facial expressions is enough, and that they must incorporate as many faces as possible.
In order to do so, they came up with wide variety of scenarios and an obviously wide cast to. See, that’s the Nichijou difference, Nichijou didn’t just have arbitary faces, all of the facial expressions were a reaction to something understandable, sure they were exaggerated, but they were still valid reactions. This meant that as funny as the faces were, they never felt contrived or made up for the lols.The sheer randomness
Ok, so I am not 100% sure that my definition of random is correct, but you have to admit, the switching around to totally unrelated skits, the content of those skits, and some other stuff, was in general, quite random, or at least it felt like it.
Normally, imagery is a big, scary word that literature majors, english teachers and hip bloggers use in their super “deep” analysis of something. In Nichijou, the imagery is simple, and you don’t need to think about it, it’s quite obvious what it means, and is only used for comedic effect and not as a bait for “intellectuals”. As a dumb bloke, I kind of like that.The soundtrack
The soundtrack in Nichijou was phenomenal. Both openings were great, the first ending was great, and some of the variable endings were also really good, I liked the ending songs for episodes 15, 19, 20- 23, 24(REALLY GOOD), 25, 26 (Also REALLY GOOD).
A lot of the insert songs were also really good, the pole vault insert and the Go-Soccer insert come to mind, though I am sure there were others.
Scenes with non-explained humor
Yuko’s walk of salvation (from episode 26) was one of those scenes with humor that wasn’t explained (through facial expressions or communication), and yet it was so very funny. Funnier even because Yuko thought she was having a string of bad luck.
Nichijou didn’t have too many of these scenes, but when it had them, they were well done.
The change in animation when necessary
Nichijou was very well animated. But, it wasn’t just well animated, it was also animated intelligently. The animators changed the animation style, (e.g. the way characters were drawn) whenever it was necessary, and more often than not, this made things a hell of a lot funnier.
The above scenes wouldn’t have been anywhere near as funny if it wasn’t for the change in art style, actually let me rephrase that, they were mostly funny because of the change.
Earlier, I said that the random short segments were not all great, but I had forgotten about Like Love, and well, Like Love was great, but instead of me trying to convince you, should head on over here, the comments on that post are also quite accurate, be sure to read them! Note: This was the link I alluded to earlier on.
I really, really liked the blimp scenes. They were all pretty funny scenes within their own world, but the funniest part was the always the end when the transitioned into the land world. According to wikipedia, the blimp scenes are Yuko’s dreams, but I’d rather not believe that.The final two episodes
Both of the last two episodes were really good, in my opinion episode 25 was a bit better, at least in terms of raw comedy, but they were both great episodes, I was quite satisfied with the conclusion, but I do hope that there is going to be a second season.
Episode 25 featured what I consider to be one of the best chase sequences in anime. Seriously, you can hate all of Nichijou if you want, but no one should hate the chase scene.
As for episode 26, I found the Yuko saving everyone’s butt scene to be some really high class comedy. I don’t know why (though I talked about it earlier, if you bothered to read everything!), but that entire scene reeked of class and elegance, something, you don’t normally see in comedy shows.
I also really liked the tie in with an earlier episode.
It is sad that since Nichijou resulted in a loss, there probably won’t be a second season, which is really unfortunate because source material still exists (the manga is ongoing).
Regardless, Nichijou really is a great anime, one worth checking out by everyone, though not everyone will like it. If you somewhat like it, then I’d advise you stick with it a bit because as Kuro said, it really grows on you.
If you disliked Nichijou then that’s fine, it’s probably not for everyone.
Now, if you liked Nichijou (even just a bit) when you first started, then by the end, you would have probably liked it a lot more. This statement is said to be true for many anime (the old,”it get’s better, I promise!” line ), but I honestly think Nichijou is one of the few anime that can claim it as true. But, how many anime are there that one can attribute the following statement to:
“If you liked Nichijou when you were done with it, then you will only like it more over time”. Think about that statement for a second, even legendary classics like Guran Lagann or Code Geass are said to get worse on your second viewing, but Nichijou is one of those really rare anime, like School Rumble,or Azumanga Daioh (probably, I haven’t seen Daioh yet, I am afraid) that you can always come back to, and be confident that you will leave liking it more.
Take a look at this post for example, I started the post liking Nichijou, but now, I am closing it with a comment that reeks of fanboyism.
During the course of writing this post, the re-watching of various Nichijou scenes to get screen-shots, the reading of other people’s posts, I, ended up liking Nichijou more, a good deal more, and for that feat alone, this anime deserves all the praise it can get.